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Obscura - "Akróasis" (CD)

Obscura - "Akróasis" CD cover image

"Akróasis" track listing:

1. Sermon of the Seven Suns
2. The Monist
3. Akróasis
4. Ten Sepiroth
5. Ode to the Sun
6. Fractal Dimension
7. Perpetual Infinity
8. Weltseele

Reviewed by on March 14, 2016

"This is the pinnacle of Obscura, and the ending track in particular just perfectly blends the melodic / prog side with the technical death metal sound."

I came into “Akróasis” with much fear and trepidation: lineup changes had me skittish, and with the high quality of the previous album “Omnivium,” it seemed unlikely Obscura would be able to shake up the formula and offer anything better. Turns out those fears were unfounded, because hands down, this is the best Obscura album to date.

“Sermon Of The Seven Suns” grabs you right away and the album doesn't let go until the ending notes of closing track “Weltselee.” Considering that it has current and former members of Obscura this probably shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, but it seems like there's a clear Alkaloid influence on the album. If you loved surprise hit "The Malkuth Grimoire," you'll want to listen to Obscura's new offering post-haste. The tech aspects are still there, but “Akróasis” blends in the melodic, progressive, and atmospheric elements more strongly this time around.

The album has a stellar blending of theme with musical execution, with a strong space / sci-fi feel across the tracks and loads of interesting sound effects placed at just the right times. Normally I don't dig effects placed on vocals meant to make them sound robotic or futuristic, but they actually work really well here on songs like “Perpetual Infinity.”

That off-kilter bass focus on songs like “The Monist” provides a different tone than you'll get with the average death metal band, and there are a ton of different sub-genre influences on display. The low key intro to “Ten Sephiroth” for instances heads into a thrash-based riff with some technical death additions, and that sort of variety is present on every track, culminating in the epic 15 minute “Weltseele.” This unexpected closing song is probably Obscura's best single offering in the band's history. There's an acoustic opening, spacey bass parts in the background, marching drum beats, insane technical guitars, melancholy atmospheres, gothic voiceovers, and even more elements you wouldn't normally expect based on previous releases.

After greatly enjoying both “Cosmogenesis” and “Omnivium,” I'm floored by how much better “Akróasis” ended up being, as it didn't seem like there was any room to expand further, but Obscura proved me massively wrong. This is the pinnacle of Obscura, and the ending track in particular just perfectly blends the melodic / prog side with the technical death metal sound.

Highs: Prog, tech, melody, atmopshere: "Akroasis" has it all!

Lows: None, this is Obscura's finest hour.

Bottom line: Despite lineup changes and a long wait between albums, this is easily Obscura's crowning achievement as a band.

Rated 5 out of 5 skulls
5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)